EPR 029: How To Clear An Issue With Your Partner – Part 2

By Posted in - Marriage Issues & Podcast & Relationships August 20th, 2015 0 Comments Common Marriage Issues

Common Marriage Issues Part II

These are my podcast show notes. Be sure to listen to the full episode to hear stories, examples, and more tips.

Over the last several weeks, I have been addressing a listener’s question. She essentially asked, “What do you do when you have gotten into a pattern of not avoiding the Nine Destructive Behaviors in relationship conflict? Also, how do you deal with past hurts in communication as well?”

To answer her question, I first addressed The Most Important Ingredient To Shifting Conflicts. In my next podcast, I talked about Being The Best You Can Be In Relationship. The third podcast, I discussed How To Repair & Resolve Hurt In Relationship.

Last week, I talked about How To Clear An Issue With Your Partner. I discussed examples of common marriage issues and the 7 important elements to successful communication- when you have an issue with your partner. I mentioned this exercise titled A Step-By-Step Guide To Turn Any Argument Into Effective Communication. Today, I am continuing the conversation of How To Clear An Issue With Your Partner.

1. Do Your Individual Preparation Work.

  • common marriage issuesGet clear within yourself first. What is your concern or issue? How do you feel? What is your need or desire?
  • Getting clear will be helpful to you when you communicate and it will be tremendously helpful to your partner as well.
  • Being clear will help your communication be more effective and efficient. You will be able to allocate more time and energy to create a positive outcome.
  • It is okay to want space to explore your feelings with your significant other. However, I would let “being listened to” be the goal for the first conversation. It may be too much to address the process of exploring how you feel AND then to try and resolve your concerns all in one sitting. This is especially true if your partner has a limited capacity to process with you (i.e. not their natural style of communication).
  • Sometimes gender differences play a role in this aspect of communication. Men stereotypically have a difficult time with long process-oriented style of communication.
  • If you are interested in taking some time to get clear before addressing an issue with your partner, here is a good reference tool.

2. Schedule Time To Meet.

  • office-614273_1280 copyAsk your spouse for some time to talk.
  • Getting your partner’s permission ahead of time will help set the conversation up for success. Your partner will be more engaged and willing to participate when there is an agreement rather than an imposition.
  • Being on the same page with your agreement will help promote clear communication and reduces expectations, demands, overwhelm and disappointment.

3. Identify The Terms.

  • What is your intention as a couple (i.e. clear communication, understanding)?
  • What is your individual goal (i.e. perspective taking, learning, empathy)?
  • What is your intention for self-accountability (i.e. try to have an open mind)?
  • Create safety. At any point, you and your partner can stop the conversation. You can revisit the conversation when you are both ready to re-engage.
  • Plan for an estimated amount of time (i.e. 30 min to 50 mins). You can always plan for another time. 
  • Choose one topic to address. Stay with the one topic. If more topics come up, take a note and schedule more time in the future.

4. Manage Your Level Of Defensiveness.

  • Common Marriage IssuesRecognize your window of opportunity.
  • Strive to remain open, calm, and present.
  • Be honest when you are starting to get triggered and defensive. Take a break or end the conversation if you need to.
  • What helps you refocus if you start to get defensive? What is the long-term result that you desire with your partner (i.e. more connection, strength, resolution, and closeness)?

Respect is one of the greatest expressions of love. ~ Don Miguel Ruiz

5. Practice The Communication Exercise.

  • See this article for the full exercise.
  • Decide who will share first and who will listen first.
  • © Peter Harrison | Flickr

    © Peter Harrison | Flickr

    Person sharing speaks from a self-referenced place. See examples in full exercise.

  • Person listening seeks to really understand, not to agree or condone. See examples in full exercise.
  • Person sharing describes experience, feelings, needs and/or desires.
  • Person listening reflects back what they hear, stays curious, and checks out what they hear to make sure they are getting the right understanding.
  • Listener asks questions until a deeper understanding and learning has been gained.
  • When the person sharing feels heard and understood, then you can switch roles. You may need a second meeting to fully complete the process.

6. Gain A New Understanding.

  • By taking time with this exercise, you and your partner will most likely gain more understanding and perspective about each other’s experience.
  • Common Marriage IssuesThe goal is to resolve common marriage issues by having a new learning and understanding- by postponing your position to really get into your partner’s worldview.
  • Once you have established a new understanding, you will be prepared to engage in a new level of communication.
  • When you and your partner truly feel heard, understood, and validated, you will most likely feel a sense of closeness, warmth, and connection.

This exercise takes effort, investment, and practice. If you are interested in getting support for implementing these tools, please contact me for relationship coaching or to enroll in a couples course.

Mentioned On This Episode:

If you have a topic you would like me to discuss or a situation you would like me to speak to, please contact me by clicking on the “Ask Dr. Jessica Higgins” button here.

Thank you so much for your interest in resolving common marriage issues! I believe in your relationship success!

Also, I would so appreciate your honest rating and review if you would be willing to click here.

Thank you!

Please leave a Comment

Shifting Criticism For Connected Communication

Shifting Criticism For Connected Communication.

Stop the criticism loop, learn new ways to communicate
and strengthen the connection with your partner.


Dr. Jessica Higgins ~ Relationship and Transformational Coaching